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PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-104 / A04

 

 

 

 

DVD Capabilities P2

DVD-Video Dual Layer Reading

Above we tested the drive's performance with a dual layered movie (the movie title was "Terminator 2 : Ultimate Edition Disk 1"). As you can see it uses CLV at 2x speed to read both layers - this is within its specifications.

Playstation 2

We copied the game "Tekken 4" using a DVD-R disk and it booted successfully on our PAL Playstation 2 (swap trick aided by Action Replay). We also made a backup onto DVD-RW but the Playstation 2 can not read re-writable disks without drive modifications (we are told it does play -RW disks but only on the latest consoles).

X-BOX

Microsoft's X-Box games console is also capable of reading DVD disks. The console comes with a Thomson / Philips DVD-ROM drive that can read various media but has been designed specifically to ignore certain media types i.e. CD-R media.

The consoles games are stored on single layered (dual layered is possible but not used) DVD-ROM disks that have been written from the outside-in - a scheme once employed by the defunct Dreamcast console (done to prevent piracy).

Unlike the Playstation, you can not make 1:1 copies using disk copying software on the PC, you must transfer the files from the console first (download from the net, use an alleged hacked firmware, transfer to the PC using an Ethernet or dev kit).

The Pioneer A04 can produce X-Box backup DVDs and both DVD-RW and -R disk types produced were recognised and booted by our homebrew modded X-Box. We found that between the -R and the +R disks we tested, the X-Box favoured the -R format and would be the disks every time 1st time. (This is more to do with media as almost all the +R disks currently are rebranded Riteks).

DVD Writing Performance

To test the drive's writing performance we used Nero 5.5.9.0 and wrote 4469MB of data to the disk and timed it.

With DVD-R you can select a slower speed just like CD-Rs and above Record Now Max says the x2 disk will take 31mins and 30 seconds, in reality it only took 28mins and 42 seconds to write a full 4469MB of data.

2 Speed Writing

Unlike the DVD+RW format's write once "+R" disks the "-R" disks can be written at single speed which they will take around 57 mins to fill a full DVD-R or at double speed where will take around 28 mins to write a full DVD-R. Two speed writing is a Pioneer specific invention and only a few disks can be written to at this speed. When Pioneer released the A03 there was an uproar as people felt that they should have control over what speed to burn at and risk the consquences of making an unreliable disk.

Pioneer didn't release any information or label their packaging appropriatley at the time to inform customers that they could only write at x2 with the most expensive media. Now things are different and Pioneer is informing their customers that x2 recording is only possible on a few disks:

"With the launch of the DVD-103 DVD-R/RW drive, Pioneer has included a feature allowing 2X recording of DVD-R. This feature has been brought about by Pioneer’s own engineering endeavor. Within each drive is media specific optimizations called ‘write strategies’. These write strategies are tailor made for specific media, making 2X DVD-R recording possible.

Currently the DVD forum’s specification for DVD-R is 1X DVD-R recording. Pioneer was able to base its 2X DVD-R recording feature on the DVD forum’s specification, making it possible to include this benefit to its customers.

To make 2X DVD-R record compatible ‘For General’ media, the following steps must be completed before consideration. First, the media must pass the DVD forum’s verification for 1X DVD-R. Once cleared, with the media maker’s cooperation, Pioneer fine tunes the media for 2X recording, then confirms the mass production DVD-R media. Only after passing these tests media is considered 2X DVD-R compatible media.

Due to the use of this development system, depending on the media’s release date, 2X DVD-R recording may not be possible. Unlike high speed CD-R recording, 2X DVD-R recording requires optimization. Without optimization, the possibility exists that the recorded media will lack the desired playback quality. This system has been implemented in order to avoid customer confusion over DVD-R media that is deemed not compatible with 2X recording.

Pioneer will make its best effort to make it more understandable to the end user by making this information available in our instruction manual, product packaging, and other methods of communication. We will continue to contact various media manufacturers to increase the number of 2X record compatible DVD-R media. Pioneer suggests use of the following DVD-R media for 2X recording. This list shall be updated as more 2X DVD-R media becomes available.

Of the media manufacturers listed above, there does exist media that is not 2X DVD-R compatible.

To confirm whether or not the media intended for use is 2X DVD-R compatible, please ask at the point of purchase.

The 2X DVD-R record feature is a media specific feature.
Depending on the media used, the record speed may default to 1X.
"

Media Quality

We feel the quality of some of the DVD-R media out is very poor and often you will not notice there is a problem until you manage to write to the outer edges of the DVD (near the maximum capacity of the disk i.e. 4,400MB). Disk writing would often be successful but whilst reading the data back using a verification process you will find that data written on the outer edges will fail and become unreadable.

This problem only existed with the cheapest spindle DVD-R media and some of the more expensive media worked perfectly every time.

Compatibility Test

Compatibility is one area that has been much debated between the recordable formats ("minus" and "plus") below we have added the "Pioneer DVR-A04". Please note: this table is not done from user contributions.

PC DVD-ROM RECORDABLE FORMATS COMPARISON
Drive Tested
-R
+R
-RW
+RW
Toshiba SDM-1612
YES
YES
YES
YES‡
Pioneer 116
YES
YES
YES
NO
PSX2
YES
YES
NO
NO
X-BOX
YES
YES
YES
YES
Philips DVDRW228k
YES
YES
YES
YES
Pioneer DVR-A04 / 104 (NEW)
YES
YES
YES
YES

‡Only with the latest firmware upgrade (version 1806 or later).

Page 6 - Last Updated: 10 August 2002

 
 

 


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